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What Makes an Article Marketable?

Jan 8, 2008
Article marketing is one of the most popular ways to market a website. A well-written article can bring in a number of high quality links and attract traffic to your website.

So why do so many fail so miserably at it?

I run an article directory, and delete around 80-90% of the articles submitted to my site. Why? Because I can see no way anyone would want to read them. And today I would like to share some of the flaws I see most often. Many of these make it so easy to decline the article that I don't even have to read it first.

Problem 1: The entire article is one paragraph.

Sometimes these go on and on. Breaking an article up into short paragraphs makes it much more readable. It also means your ideas are much more clearly presented.

Don't assume that the information you are presenting is so wonderful that everyone will want to read it, despite your own poor skills at breaking it up into appropriate chunks. There are plenty of other wonderfully written articles out there that are well formatted too.

Problem 2: Blatant ads.

I don't mind if you cite genuine resources. But if the entire article is so clearly nothing more than an ad for your product or website, forget it.

The place for linking to your own site is within the resource box. I suggest one or two links, three if you absolutely must. Any links within the article itself should be quality references, not just links thrown in because you like the keywords.

Problem 3: Poor grammar, spelling, etc.

I don't mean occasional mistakes. I mean mistakes so obvious that I find them even in the title of the article.

I don't mind that people have English as a second language when they write articles. They speak more languages that I do, probably. But if you cannot write clearly enough in English to get your point across, your article won't be interesting to readers.

Problem 4: Miscategorized articles.

People who run article directories, as well as those who search them for articles, don't care to recategorize your articles for you. They're an annoyance and are prone to being deleted by article directory owners, or ignored by potential publishers. Take the extra few seconds and figure out the right placement.

Problem 5: Using all caps.

This is most often done in the title, but I occasionally see it in articles too. Typing in all capital letters may bring attention to what you're writing, but it also makes it just miserable to read. It is also often interpreted as shouting. Take the time to do it right. You want your quality to stand out, not your attachment to your Caps Lock key.

Problem 6: Writing too short an article.

I rarely look at articles under 400 words. Few writers can get solid information across in so small a space. If you go under 200 words it's almost certainly nothing more than an ad, and under 300 words is rarely more than a most superficial effort.

Publishers and readers want articles that teach them something they didn't know. Take the time to share some of your knowledge. You don't have to give away all the answers, but a few would be nice.

Problem 7: Multiple part articles.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with this is that it is generally too hard to find the other parts of the article. They are typically separated in the directory, and authors rarely link to them in the resource box. That's not good for readers.

The other problem is simply that publishers don't like them that well. They want complete articles on their site.

Problem 8: Resource links not related to the article topic.

I see this most often when someone is trying to build links to casino websites. These are hard links to get, so they try writing on other topics. This may build links, but it's not the best experience for readers. Try to keep reasonably on topic. You'll improve your chances of getting interested visitors as well as links.

Problem 9. Excessive use of keywords.

Keyword titles. Overuse of keywords in the article text. Keyword link 1, keyword link 2, keyword link 3, keyword link 4, etc. in the resource box. It's not pretty.

It's also no fun to read. Your focus in article marketing should always be in making the best experience for readers. This is what interests publishers in sharing your article as well as brings readers to your site. If your article is hard to read, why should they visit your site.

Problem 10: Preformatting.

The days of people always wanting articles preformatted to 65 or even 55 characters per line are over. Many webmasters use articles on their websites or even send them in HTML formatted emails. They do not want or need the articles preformatted for them.

Certainly there are some advantages to sending plain text emails preformatted to 65 or so characters, as it's just easier to read. But it's no longer so standard. Let the webmasters handle it unless you're submitting to a place that asks for such formatting.

Problem 11: Posting multiple articles on identical topics at the same time.

I've seen people submit 5 and more articles on a single theme in a single day too many times. I don't mean 5 articles on 'widgets', I mean 5 articles on 'blue widgets and their use in training dogs'.

I know article spinners and rewriters are out there. But even if you're doing it by hand, that's too many articles on a single topic for just one article directory. Spread them out at the very least. Better yet is to be more creative.

Obviously at this point I haven't covered every mistake I see people make in article marketing, but these are the most painfully obvious. Mistakes like these are generally so obvious that it is not even necessary to read the article before hitting 'delete'.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.brightarticles.com/ as a free place to submit quality articles. Submit your articles to a site that considers the readers.
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